Over the last couple of days, I have attempted to highlight professional sports and the city of Louisville. First, we had the Louisville Colonels in baseball; then, there was the Brecks in the NFL; and finally, with some hesitation, we move to professional basketball. I say hesitation because any time anybody mentions professional basketball in the state of Kentucky, sure enough, riots ensue mainly because, and I include myself in this, this state is basketball crazy, for lack of a better word. And, I’m worse than everybody else about it. I love basketball. It’s a rite of passage in this region of the country, and so it only makes sense that pro-basketball should be a logical fit here. The two are made for each other, like Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt – oh wait, well, maybe that still works. The city is still a little sore after losing the Charlotte Hornets several years ago and being passed over as one of the expansion cities more recently. However, as many are well aware, professional basketball has graced the streets of Louisville years ago, specifically in 1967 when the Kentucky Colonels, who made their home for most of the team’s career at Freedom Hall, first took the court. As one of the inaugural teams, the Colonels boasted one of the strongest staying powers of any of the teams in the flashy league.
This team began its existence with the trademark creative ideas associated with the league with the red, white and blue ball, including playing the first female ever to play professional basketball – Penny Ann Early. They proved their longevity with pure solid basketball boasting the most wins of any ABA team after the league folded in 1976. It was this year that the stronger and more established National Basketball Association (NBA) merged with the upstart. And, when talk began that several teams would be moving to the wealthier league, it was thought by many that the Kentucky Colonels with their line-up and record would be a lock. But, as the Indiana Pacers, New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets, and San Antonio Spurs rounded out the merger with the formerly rival leagues, many Kentuckians and ABA fans alike were left wondering where the Colonels were. While some players like Kentucky grads Louie Dampier and Dan Issel went to the NBA individually, the team was forced to fold leaving many Louisvillians in search of a Colonels continuation. A search that will more than likely only conclude once the green and white of the Colonels take the court one more time.
Thanks to my sources
Kentucky Colonels. Remember the ABA. Retrieved February 15, 2011, from http://www.remembertheaba.com/Kentucky-Colonels.html
Remember the ABA. Remember the ABA. Retrieved February 15, 2011, from http://www.remembertheaba.com/
Kentucky Colonels. Basketball Reference. Retrieved February 15, 2011, from http://www.remembertheaba.com/Kentucky-Colonels.html
Photo: Kentucky Fair and Expo Center/Freedom Hall